East Brunswick Library’s ‘Girls Who Code’ club offers classes

A detailed look at “The Library” by Emily Brock

EAST BRUNSWICK–Providing a space for young women to learn more about computer science, the East Brunswick Public Library’s “Girls Who Code” club chapter offers weekly sessions.

Youth Services Librarian Sally Leung said that the “Girls Who Code” is a national organization whose mission is to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does. To date, there have been over 185,000 girls who have been members of local “Girls Who Code” chapters.

“The chapter that we are starting at the East Brunswick Public Library plans to run through the school year and we hope that members will attend regularly, but we haven’t yet decided on how frequent our meetings will be,” Leung said.

The sessions are offered to girls that are entering the 3rd-5th grades in the fall or who are between the ages of eight-11. Each session is offered at 3 p.m. every Tuesday at the library’s Children’s Programming Room or the EBCreate makerspace, according to Leung.

Children do not need to be EB residents or have a library card to join, according to Leung.

“There is other “Girls Who Code” clubs in East Brunswick such as at the Churchill Junior High School, but there is no club in this town, which targets 3rd-5th graders,” Leung said. “The younger the girls get exposed to computer science concept and engaged in coding activities, the more likely they get interested in computer science to help close the gender gap in computer science major in college and computer science jobs in the field.”

Leung said that though the library has offered many other coding programs through the library for all ages, this is the first “Girl Who Code” club chapter in the library.

During a regular club meeting, Leung said it usually has three sections that includes: discussing the computer science concept using the “Learn to Code and Change the World” book written by Reshma Saujani, the founder of the “Girls Who Code” club; play games to enhance computational thinking and problem-solving; do actual coding with various online resources; and also eat healthy snacks together and do other bonding activities.

“This is our first month to recruit new club members. During our first meeting on July 9, we chitchatted to get to know each other, talked about what coding is, solved math problems and played Blokus, and did a small coding project using Scratch Jr. to design the path of a Robocat vacuum cleaner so that it cleans the floor efficiently,” Leung said. “We had strawberry, kiwi, carrot, celery and Pocky for a snack.”

Leung explained that the library plans to be continued the club through this summer and school year.

“Learning to code can definitely improve her computer literacy and heighten her interest in computer science. She can also make new friends through playing games, doing project and discussion together,” Leung said. “It’s more than a coding club. Through regular attendance, her confidence will be boosted.”

For more information, about the “Girls Who Code” club visit www.ebpl.org/main/ebpl-events-calendar.cfm or call 732-390-6767.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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